As far as FML ministry goes, yesterday was definitely a highlight for 2015. Thank you so much for praying for us as we shared with the Kenyan children who had come to Northern Ireland for the weekend. They and their families now live in England and had come over for a few days.
William and I had prepared as much as we could and we were very conscious that we needed the Lord's help. We had been told there would be 10 children ranging in age from 1 up to 15. Sure enough this was the group we had to work among. The 15 year old had now turned 16 and the 1 year old stayed with his parents so that left 9 children ranging from age 3 to age 16. It was a challenge to prepare a programme which would somehow be age appropriate for them all. We wanted to include the 3 year olds without excluding the oldest of the group.
There were two other challenges. One was the length of time the programme was to last. Two and a half hours! We felt a little restricted because it was a Sunday and this influenced us in our planning. Some quizzes we felt weren't appropriate and also some crafts.
Finally, the other challenge was that we didn't really know the background to the children. Would we be teaching typically Kenyan children or would it feel like we were teaching English children? It does make a difference! What we did discover was that we were teaching a lovely group of well mannered, enthusiastic children and young people who, although living in England, have not lost their identity as being Kenyan. It was lovely to talk with them about life in both England and Kenya. Some had lived in Kenya, some have other been there for holidays and some have never been there....but they knew plenty about the country. It was refreshing to talk to people here in the UK who understood both sides that we experience. Normally people in Kenya don't understand life here in the UK.....people here in the UK don't totally understand life in Kenya. These children understood both! We enjoyed this.
We arrived about 25 minutes before we were due to start at 10am. We had managed to plan a full programme for the two and a half hours. It went so fast. We enjoyed it so much and we believe the children did too. The Lord really led and guided us in the planning more than we had realised. So much of what we included was so appropriate and we managed to include all ages. The children were so mature and the older ones were very understanding of the younger boys and girls. The two oldest, aged 16 and 13 were able to help us by holding up choruses. This meant William was able to get some photos and video as I was playing the keyboard for the singing. We knew we were with Kenyan children when they started clapping!!!
The two favourite choruses were "I believe the Bible" and "1,2,3 Jesus loves me" Both contain basic Biblical truths which can be expanded upon and both are quite easy to learn which meant the little ones were able to join in quite easily. We also sang "Far, Far into Europe."
Our Bible Lesson was the story of Paul's conversion. A good Gospel lesson. Our quiz questions were all about the story. The game was concentration....pictures face down which had to matched in pairs when a question was answered. The pictures were scenes from the dvd which we shared. This was the true story of Samuel Morris. He was a young boy from Liberia, Africa who went to American to learn more about the Bible. When there he played a part in saving a university from closure and was the means of many trusting the Lord as Saviour and returning to Africa as missionaries. It was not a story we had previously been familiar with but we ourselves were challenged by it. The children loved the story and continued discussing it amongst themselves afterwards as they completed worksheets and colouring pages based on the story. Of course, the fact the young boy was of African origin made it very personal to them. It was definitely the Lord's leading that we shared that particular story.
John 3 : 16 was our memory verse. Having a long programme gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time on this verse and they learnt it well even though it is long. They enjoyed the use of a bean bag....whoever it was thrown to had to say the next word of the verse. As well as the words we used pictures to illustrate the verse which really helped the younger ones to memorise it and added to the variety. The verse was reinforced at the end when we gave a gift pack to each child which, amongst other items included a Gospel tract and bookmarker which both had John 3 : 16 printed on them.
Following the meeting we were able to have lunch with the entire group who were there. This included the parents of the children and others. It was wonderful and for a few hours we felt we were in Kenya.
If ever there was any doubt that we are called to work with Kenyan children our time yesterday would certainly have reassured us. It was a pleasure and a privilege to minister amongst these boys and girls and to get to know their families. The children were a credit to their parents and to Kenya!
Thank you so much for praying. Your efforts were certainly not in vain! (Click on the images below to enlarge them. We hope you can also view the video)
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...